Citizens Not Subjects: U.S. Foreign Relations Law and the Decentralization of Foreign Policy

69 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2012 Last revised: 21 Aug 2014

See all articles by Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson

International Center for Not-for-Profit Law; Harvard Law School, Center on the Legal Profession

Date Written: May 14, 2007

Abstract

In a globalized world localities actions have become intertwined in foreign affairs. However, U.S. foreign relations law still finds localities role in international affairs suspect and strongly biases federalizing matters that pertain to international relations. As local governance becomes more internationally saturated, this jurisprudence threatens to both undercut local democracy and weaken U.S. foreign policy. This article applies traditional pro-federalism arguments to defend a partial decentralization of foreign relations in which localities and the federal government are concurrent actors in foreign affairs. It argues that courts should abandon doctrines of heightened preemption in foreign relations and instead let the executive and legislature specifically preempt a locality’s policy if it interferes with U.S. foreign policy.

Keywords: Foreign Relations Law, Decentralized Foreign Policy, US Constitution, dormant foreign affairs power, dormant commerce clause, political question doctrine

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Nick, Citizens Not Subjects: U.S. Foreign Relations Law and the Decentralization of Foreign Policy (May 14, 2007). Akron Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 647, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2031935

Nick Robinson (Contact Author)

International Center for Not-for-Profit Law ( email )

1126 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Harvard Law School, Center on the Legal Profession ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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